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Business Networks In The Cloud: Facebook Versus MySpace?

In this, the third in a series of articles on what businesses can learn from Facebook, I consider the impact of the network effect. The first article, a new information sharing model, considered how the principles of Facebook information sharing can be applied to business and the second turned attention on collecting and analysing data. When you sign up for Facebook today, the site already has dozens, maybe hundreds of friendship recommendations waiting for you. All you need to do is hit ‘accept.’ As odd, perhaps even a little creepy as that may feel, it is testament to the vibrancy of that community. It’s proof that the famous network effect has reached critical mass. It’s easy to forget though that it hasn’t always been that way. Just a few short years ago, Facebook and MySpace were roug...

9 Time-Saving Apps And Tools That Won’t Break The Bank

Entrepreneurs and small business owners are typically short of time. Too much to do, active minds, a life crammed full of possibilities and never enough time to do it all. Making time isn’t possible, but saving time is, so here’s a list of apps and tools that can make your life easier, your business more secure and all on a budget. The majority of the tools listed below are either free, low cost or have premium alternatives. As business owners are obsessed about being able to do more in less time, time-saving or productivity boosting apps are a great place to start. Here are nine of the best: Evernote Consistently one of the most recommended apps for improving productivity. Evernote works across operating systems and on both mobile and desktop making it possible to sync and save most of yo...

Thames Flooding Flushes Out Flawed Thinking On London Data Centres

Time and tide wait for no one. Wise words and all the more so amid the recent flooding experienced up and down the country with even the Thames bursting its banks just a few miles short of central London. If it wasn’t for the Thames Barrier who knows what might have happened? It’s sobering that a fifth of all the 30-year-old barrier’s closures took place in the first two months of 2014. This has sparked fresh calls for the building of a new one should the current one fail through overuse. When it comes to data centre location, these recent events should serve as a warning to any CIO still intent on going with the flow of conventional wisdom by continuing to take data centre space at premium rates in Docklands – entirely on the floodplain – or the City which is still close enoug...

End Of Windows XP: Why Late Migration Is Good For Business

Nearly three months on from the official end of support for Windows XP many companies who are still using the legacy operating system are becoming more wary about the security holes they might be exposed to. But they are also very aware of the large customer support charges for extending support beyond XP’s official shelf life. In fact, being late to the migration party may actually be good for your business, but only if you adopt a rapid, fully-automated approach. Windows XP support officially ended on 8 April 2014, yet two months on and it is estimated that more than a quarter of businesses are still yet to migrate to a new operating system. Many of these companies feel that migrating their whole company away from XP is too much of a headache, especially if they have thousands of seats, ...

Email Backup Vs Email Archiving

We are all aware of how critical email is to a business, but its popularity is resulting in massively increasing data volumes that are reaching almost unmanageable proportions. In fact, according to the Email Statistics Report-2011-2015 by the Radicati Group, an average business user is expected to send/receive 120 emails per day in 2014 and 125 in 2015. The same source says that 144.8 billion emails are sent per day, out of which 89 billion are business emails. Emails are important, not only for the ease and speed at which they are delivered – making communication efficient and global, but also for their ability to maintain an audit trail for compliance purposes. It therefore goes without saying that businesses should have some kind of process to enable them to store emails and retr...

G-Cloud: More Needs To Be Done To Make It Work

Imagine a world where the public and private sectors work harmoniously, boosting the economy with innovation and giving taxpayers more for their money. Imagine a platform for finding and contacting new businesses with new ideas, that will engage with and surprise an organisation while meeting its specific needs. The G-Cloud framework represents the fundamentals of this brave new world. Now about to enter its fifth iteration, G-Cloud is widely acknowledged for bringing ICT services to the public sector. Designed to give local authorities and councils a flexible means of accessing accredited providers to procure cloud services, G-Cloud’s CloudStore makes it easier to find small and innovative cloud providers, ultimately reshaping how public services are provided. However, G-Cloud is not livi...

5 Ways Cloud-Based Accounting Makes A Difference To SMEs

Cloud computing is being deployed on a grand scale at some of the world’s biggest companies and, in many cases, changing the way they operate and do business. But beyond the headline-grabbing investments of enterprise giants, cloud computing is steadily bringing about a revolution too in the way that small companies go about their work and plan for the future. A key part of the equation for these small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is the effective use of cloud-based accounting software. Here we’ll take a closer look at why it is making such a difference. 1. Cost Effectiveness Every innovation is required to illustrate its cost effectiveness before being pounced upon in earnest by small businesses and cloud-based accounting software has been no exception. But once installed and readie...

Keeping Data Secure In The Age Of The Connected Device

The UK government’s recent announcement of further investment in the development of the Internet of Things – or the growing Web-linked network of smart devices – was a new vote of confidence for the concept. However, reactions to this gesture were mixed. While some commentators believe that the Internet of Things has yet to show any real commercial promise and its potential overrated – others believe that it marks the internet’s true coming of age. Undoubtedly the cynics are letting the hype get in the way, although more exploration, trial and error is probably needed before the golden ticket is finally revealed. However, in all the excitement of the enthusiasts, there is one aspect that tends to get forgotten. After all, if we haven’t yet properly mastered the security aspects of the orig...

Cloud Computing Pros And Cons For SMBs

Appetite for the cloud has increased immensely throughout the business community over the last few years, with the widespread availability of mobile devices and Wi-Fi prompting professionals to look to cloud-based apps and computing models that enable them to work on the go. Yet while enterprises with large IT departments have dedicated time and resource to cloud working, smaller businesses have had to forge their own route – in some cases with trepidation. So what are the biggest barriers to cloud in the SMB? And what should smaller firms think about when making a move? A recent survey by the analytics firm ComScore confirmed that the reasons many UK SMBs are yet to move their business applications to the cloud are because they are afraid it may create problems around data security and ar...

Password Protection Alone Proves Problematic

For years the security industry has offered advice and guidance about how to keep accounts secure and the overwhelming advice is to use complex passwords and not use the same password across different online and user accounts. Many of us are probably guilty of using easy-to-remember passwords across multiple accounts and websites. Whilst this isn’t a new problem, the issue is simply that once your password has been compromised by hackers on one site, they can also access your other online accounts, if you use the same password. In a 2014 global security report, weak passwords contributed to 31 percent of compromises that experts investigated. This demonstrates that users are still not using complex passwords to secure online accounts, whether for personal or business use. Strong Passwords ...

The Need For Speed: The Growing Importance Of Faster Cloud Computing

There can be a tendency to think too simplistically about the benefits of moving applications to the cloud. Traditional logic centres around the cost savings that companies can make out of the shift from on-premise deployments but there is another, more important element of the cloud that should be given more credence – speed. The need for speed amongst enterprise organisations is critical, and, with growing understanding and competence, enterprise organisations are harnessing the potential of operating mission-critical applications in the cloud. More Than Meets The Eye When thinking of speed and the cloud, raw compute power tends to immediately spring to mind. The cloud can provide an environment where existing applications can run up to seven times faster than they would on-premise...

Halting Network Security Degradation: An Authentic Approach To BYOD

As BYOD crosses over from hyped trend to standard practice, the business of connecting a variety of popular personal mobile devices to the corporate network continues to give IT bosses sleepless nights, and rightly so. The simple fact is that any employee using a personal wireless device to access corporate data has the potential to compromise corporate security. By definition, BYOD favours popular consumer-led devices, most of which are not built with enterprise-class network security in mind. The provision of a wireless gateway into the corporate network invites connections from ‘outside’, beyond the control and protection of the fixed network perimeter. This point of entry is therefore exposed to all manner of network villains, from viruses and Trojans in popular circulation to the targ...